LOUDER REVIEWS: 'Smile' - Lapyear
It is certainly turning out to be a very different, and much gloomier summer than most of us would have hoped for, and summising that feeling can be tough. Thankfully, London quartet Lapyear have brought the melancholy of uncertainty and the warmth of the summer sunshine together in style on their latest EP, aptly titled ‘Smile’. And smile we did!
This is a record that has no problems making itself known! Guitars come crashing in with a full-bodied wallop at the rise of ‘See Inside’. Yet the vocals provide a stark dichotomy in their ethereal softness, which pitches upwards in the chorus, to provide a balmy summer anthem that is the perfect partner to the late afternoon sunshine that falls over a festival field. This is a balance that Lapyear have managed to strike well across the whole record: the vocals are mournful and plaintive in parts, while the melodies are graced with a biffy Clyro-esque grandeur. Unfalteringly snatching your attention back into sharp focus, ‘Under My Tongue’ bursts into life, galloping along above the low, slinking crawl of the bass. The star of the show is undoubtedly the glorious hook into the chorus, which coaxes your head into banging along involuntarily. The magnitude of this track is palpable – with the chorus of ‘na na na’s that float beneath the closing lines carrying a hint of the Morrisseys about them, the marriage of emo influences and big indie soundtracks goes off without a hitch!
The guitar tone is all melted butter in the opening moments of ‘Only One’. The melody is laid back and airy, again providing that perfect binary to the turmoil of the lyrics, while the bridge, full of crashing cymbals, is a bright, perky delight. Yet it is the final line, as the guitars slowly fade away, that somehow has the most powerful resonance: ‘I want to be the only one’ is simple and plain yet bathes in an acute emotion that is impossible to exactly pinpoint.
Full of searing golden swagger and the majesty with which genre stalwarts like The Vaccines dominate stages, ‘Negative (I Wish I Was)’ boasts a huge chorus that is already primed for festival stages, led from the front by the trilling lead guitar. Yet here again, that darker element rears its dusky head. The lyrics are bursting with mournful introspection, which partners with deep, beefy drum lines to create a track that is fist-swingingly fun, and yet deceptively sombre beneath the surface. A guitar laden with effects that make it glisten with the sharp brightness of a star signals the beginning of the end with closing track ‘Puzzles’, as so many of the core ingredients of classic indie ballads come rushing to the fore. The vocals really are the star of the show here: the strained vocal lines evoke the unfettered emotion of the emo giants of old, and even the softer sections are left floating at the top of the mix when the distant, delicate thunder crashes of the drums come hovering into view. Staccato guitars and microseconds of silence are brilliantly placed through the bridge, crafting a peak of emotion into the final chorus, even without a change of pace. The musicianship alone makes this a personal standout track from the entire record.
Overall, this EP is superbly crafted. Leave it playing in the background of a late summer afternoon, as the warmth starts to fade from the remaining sunshine, and it can be a breezy soundtrack to the lull between blazing sunshine and electric nights. But if you take a moment to pause, and absorb each track as it washes over you, the raw humanity at its core will begin to shine through. For both the existing fans of danceable and sobbable indie, and those still working their way through their first indulgence into The Cure and Joy Division, Lapyear are a supremely exciting prospect indeed.
'Smile' is due out this Friday, May 15th, via Venn Records.
Check out the video for 'Under My Tongue' below: